This Sunday we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our adventure. A three-week drive across country then down the Baja coast culminated with us landing in Cabo San Lucas Mexico Labor Day weekend in 2015. Yesterday we reminisced about our trip and how much has changed this year. We showed gratitude for all we have experienced and the good friends we have made. We looked forward to the good the new year would bring us.
Today, Monday, we are prepping for a hurricane. Not sure how big it will be or how directly it will hit, but after an almost sleepless night, we started our preparation plans. Buying bottled water, canned food, and candles. Boarding windows. Keeping an eye on projections.
For a year we have listened to joyful, envious comments from our friends because we live in “paradise.” And yes, for almost twelve months now the weather has been amazing and our lives have been very good indeed. But the truth is there is always a bit of darkness in any light. Things which are perfect today could be difficult tomorrow. Challenges will always exist. We all will have disappointments and loss. Good comes with bad. Yin comes with Yang.
Here are three things to remember when a little rain enters your life: Focus on the Good, Stick to the Facts, and Accept Change
Focus on the Good: Many times when the “bad” comes, we throw out all the good. We expect sunshine and rainbows every moment of our lives and when we have one setback, we often negate all the good that happened previously. It is an interesting mentality and part of our stress-related survival technique. We focus on the negative because that is what we need to battle for survival. This used to be important if the negative danger was a snake or a hungry tiger, but today this translates to negative personal attacks or fears of the future. Our focus on the negative is so strong, we need to actively refocus our minds to the good. If you have ever been through corporate training, you will remember how they recommend sandwiching constructive criticism within praise, otherwise all we hear is the criticism. In fact, teams with the best performance use a six to one ratio – positive comments to negative. It is much harder for us to hear and receive praise than criticism, so we need to have extra focus on the good. This is also true when we have difficulties in our lives. Our natural reaction is to focus on the bad when what we need to do is shift our thoughts to the good.
Stick to the Facts: To ride out the storms in our lives, it is important not to blow them out of proportion. How often are our fears more terrifying than the reality we experience? How often do we cause ourselves pain with horrible “what if” situations which never come true? When I woke up occasionally last night it was always with a thought about the storm – what it might do, how it might affect us, how big it could be, etc. However, until the storm is here, those questions can not be answered. Thinking about them only causes physiological stress in the body and cloudy thinking. Instead, I shifted to what I knew – what can we do to prepare, who do we need to contact, and what do we need to get done in the next hours. Positive action based in reality can help us move forward. Imagined fears keep us stuck and often drag us backward.
Accept Change: Our human minds like consistency and ease. We focus on it. We desire it. We become stressed without it. But the truth is life, nature, our human existence necessitates change. If we are not changing, we are not living. Be aware of when your mind becomes closed and fearful in light of change. Release your tight grip on trying to control life; you really can’t. Step into a mindset of acceptance. Notice shifts and changes. See what good it brings you. See what growth it is gifting you with. And if necessary, make changes yourself to ensure that the shift in your life benefits you.